“What you think you know may not be so.”
QUOTE / UNQUOTE
"'Finality is death. Perfection is finality. Nothing is perfect. There are
lumps in it,' said the Philosopher."
[James Stephens (1882-1950) Irish Poet, Writer]
"Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood."
"Anxiety is the space between the 'now' and the 'then.' "
WHEN EVOLUTION IS OUTLAWED BY HUMANS IN A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY – WON’T NON-HUMANS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE?!
Utah legislators kill bill that would have labeled evolution unproven.
in Slate By William Saletan
evolution (met) unexpected resistance in Utah…The Republican
House majority whip sabotaged it by amending it to say that curricular changes
should be left to the state board of education. Legislators were persuaded that
if they labeled evolution unproven, they'd
have to do the same to other theories, and this was a job better handled by
the education board. (But the education
board opposes any change.)
1) If some scientists dispute evolution, we should say so.
2) The bill isn't religious; it just about "not overstepping what we know."
1) God has no problem with science.
2) Mixing faith and science will corrupt faith.
3) Mormons, being a minority, should beware religious majoritarianism.
4) Mormons, believing in progress and spiritual transcendence, have no problem reconciling a higher future with a lower past.
If creationists are telling kids to respect dissent regardless of its evidentiary merits, aren't they the new softheaded pluralists?
"I don't believe anybody in there really wants their kids taught that their great-grandfather was an ape, and yet you try and clarify that, and they confuse the issue, saying that it was going to challenge all of science."
WHEN POLYGAMY IS OUTLAWED…
Polygamous inbreeders are pumping out children so retarded they need constant care.
By William Saletan
Ninety percent of the 8,000 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which occupies two towns on the Arizona-Utah border, are reportedly related to at least one of two founding families.
Most members carry a recessive gene for fumarase deficiency. Relations among these relations have produced at least 20 kids with the full-blown disease; doctors expect many more as the inbreeding, which began with the community's founding 76 years ago, continues.
We marry our kin because we're the chosen people.
We draw the line when you ruin kids and dump their lifetime medical costs on taxpayers.
Contrarian’s (Rev. Art’s) question:
Is polygamy the cause of this phenomenon – or could legislative sanctions AGAINST polygamy be to blame?
Saletan has discussed “marriage between
cousins” – the pros and the cons – in The Love
That Dare Not Speak Its Surname here .
As you might expect, cultural traditions may figure more importantly in decisions regarding sexual relationships between cousins or other blood relatives. The writer notes,
“Science has deflated the scientific objections to cousin marriages. Moral problems remain…”
“This is the problem with sleeping with your cousin. You can move on from an ex-spouse or ex-lover, but there's no such thing as an ex-cousin. How are your parents and your ex's parents supposed to handle a nasty divorce or a breakup? How can they support their kids without antagonizing their siblings and their siblings' kids? You've wrecked your whole family. It isn't as bad as if you'd slept with a sibling, but it's a lot worse than if you'd slept with a friend or an officemate. We don't ban you from dating people at the office, but we don't tell you it's a great idea, either.
If you get into bed with your cousin, there's no need for Uncle Sam to throw you in jail. If it works out, great. If not, you'll find yourself in a jail no uncle will let you out of.”
WHAT IF – THE MONKEY CHASED THE
WEASEL DOG ?!
5 SILLY QUESTIONS FOR PZ MYERS from City Pages
PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the
University of Minnesota, Morris.
For almost three years he's been blogging on culture, politics, and most notably, the evolution/Intelligent Design debate at Pharyngula. It's the resurgence of the debate over evolution and Myers's intelligent, humorous, and, at times, incendiary commentary on the subject that quickly made his blog a popular destination… “
QUESTION: You're an animal guy, if a dog and a monkey got into a fight, who would win?
The monkey, easy. The dog would have some dignity, while the monkey would fight dirty. Real dirty. You'd feel filthy and ashamed just watching it. You ought to feel embarrassed for even proposing it. Do you hate puppy dogs or something?”
ROBERT F. KENNEDY IS AT IT AGAIN! Can we just SMACK him?
Someone needed to weigh in again on the assertion of various fuzzy-thinking alarmists that mercury in childhood vaccines may have caused autism in thousands of kids, and that the gummint rushed to conceal the data.
the prof responds to RFK’s revisiting of the topic:
In his infamous June Salon.com/Rolling Stone
article RFK Jr. super-selectively quote-mined the Institute of
UPDATED!! With apologies to my new skeptical pal Orac who blogs over @ Respectful Insolence and provides the requisite smackdown of Bobby the K. in no uncertain terms:
Far more harmful is how this widespread belief in an almost certainly nonexistent link between mercury and autism provides an opening to a wide variety of quack "therapies" purported to "cure" autism or greatly mitigate its symptoms, assisted by dubious labs hawking nonstandard "provoked" mercury testing. Chief among these quack therapies is chelation therapy, which, its supporters say to parents, will remove the mercury that is supposedly causing their children's autism. Sadly, it is an ineffective therapy that has led to at least one death, and the quacks don't do it cheaply. Worse, as I pointed out just last week, utterly speculative and even more scientifically implausible variants of chelation therapy have been proposed by the Geiers, the most bizarre of which is their claim that somehow testosterone potentiates the toxicity of mercury and prevents chelation therapy from properly removing mercury. This speculation (I won't dignify it by calling it a "hypothesis" or "theory") has led them to propose an even more bizarre and potentially dangerous solution to this nonexistent problem: the use of Lupron to chemically castrate autistic children in order to make chelation "more effective." I wonder if RFK Jr. knows what bizarre forms chelation for autism has evolved into in the eight months since his original article appeared in Rolling Stone.
But that's not all. There's still one last harmful effect from this "mercury=autism" hysteria, and it may be the worse effect of all. This intense focus on thimerosal as the "cause" of autism, as the Holy Grail that will lead to cures through chelation, driven by advocacy and pseudoscience rather than sound epidemiology and science, has diverted money, research time, and researchers' attention to rebutting the pseudoscience used to justify the "mercury-autism" link and away from more productive avenues of research into the true etiology and pathogenesis of autism.
That will be RFK Jr.'s legacy for coming down on the wrong side of this issue.
PZ Myers over @ Pharyngula links to Orac's smackdown and sums up his distaste for Arrianna Huffington’s blogging enterprise with this:
”Yes, on The Huffington Post, that repository of altie woo, ranging from the antivaxer who claims he isn't, Jay Gordon, and that tireless purveyor of quantum physics pseudoscientific New Age nonsense (‘fraud and quack’) Deepak Chopra, RFK Jr. has returned to resurrect his conspiracy-mongering regarding the CDC and vaccines.”
Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher, once said that “You are
nothing but the sum of your acts.” He later softened this position of extreme
personal responsibility, but his main point remains: as human beings we
exercise choices throughout our lives, and it is these actions – not how we
talk about them – that count in an ethical sense. According to Sartre – who didn't
seek meaning in the supernatural – human life is about choosing and pursuing
one's own project.
What does it mean to “have a project”? Sartre explains by means of elucidating what it means not to have one. Many of us, according to the French philosopher, behave in “bad faith,” by which he meant not that we lie to other people, but that we lie to ourselves. His example was that of the “waiter who is too much of a waiter,” that is someone who adopts a role in life and behaves according to a script that is not his own. Sartre wasn't making fun of waiters (as an assiduous patron of
Similarly, when someone says “I did it because I was following orders” (in Sartre's time this was the common excuse of the Nazi engaged in the Holocaust, today it is used by the American soldiers implicated in the Iraqi prison scandals) he is again using a scripted role to avoid moral responsibility. Of course, it was eventually pointed out to Sartre that this approach to personal responsibility is a bit too stern to provide a realistic picture of the human condition. After all, there are strong cultural and historical circumstances within which we find ourselves, and that are largely outside of our control. My project might have been to be a university professor all along, but had I been born in the second century in the middle of the Amazon basin, there simply wouldn't have been any university to speak of, and the very concept of academic pursuit would have been meaningless and alien to me (and to much of the rest of the world, for that matter).
That is why eventually Sartre modified his “we are what we do” to a more sensible “we are what we make of what others have made of us.” So, the waiter may still have to be a waiter for the time being, while – say – he saves money to go back to school, or to pursue his real project, whatever it may be. Analogously, the soldier can defy orders, but this may come with a high personal price to pay, which doesn't make it an automatic decision, and which muddles the ethical judgments we may make about it.
The beauty of Sartre's mature philosophy, then, is that it provides an example of mediation between personal and societal responsibility, all within an entirely secular view of life and morality. So, once again, have you thought lately about your project, and are you doing enough to pursue it?
Death of Henry
by Ed Brayton - who blogs @ DISPATCHES FROM THE CULTURE
founder of the Institute for Creation
Research and the man most responsible for the revival of creationism in
has died at age 87. By all accounts of those who met him, he was a gentleman of
unfailing civility and good will. Sadly, he was also the purveyor of a great
many lies and distortions foisted on a credulous group of followers. It was
Morris who popularized such ridiculous claims as the famous "moon dust" argument, the Paluxy "man tracks" and much more. Perhaps more than any
other, he mastered the art of the deceitful out of context quotation, his magnum
opus being the utterly dishonest use of a USGS paper regarding the Lewis Overthrust.
One of his followers, Douglas Phillips, describes how Morris convinced him that evolution was not true:
Once upon a time, I was a committed theistic evolutionist trusting in my own works to merit salvation. I saw no conflict between Christianity and the evolutionary propaganda dispensed by my government school teachers. I weaned myself on the wrong kinds of speculative evolutionary writings and dreamed of becoming an evolutionary astronomer when I grew up.
Then something happened.
God worked in my life through the boldness of several men to bring me the words of life that would ultimately lead to my salvation. One of them was my father who announced, "The Bible is true in every detail. God created the world in six twenty-four-hour days, exactly as it says in the book of Genesis." Another man (who would become my pastor and mentor) challenged me by opening Scripture and handing me a book entitled The Genesis Flood. By the age of thirteen, I had learned to love the Lord of Creation. Since that time, I have viewed Dr. Henry Morris as a mentor and spiritual father.”